Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), viewed as the most vulnerable Senate Democrat running in November, said on Wednesday that he will vote to convict President Trump on both articles of impeachment.
“After many sleepless nights, I have reluctantly concluded that the evidence is sufficient to convict the President for both abuse of power and obstruction of Congress,” he said in a statement.
Jones’s announcement comes hours before the Senate’s votes on the two House-passed articles of impeachment: abuse of power over the delayed Ukraine aid and obstructing Congress’s investigations into those actions.
Jones added that Trump’s actions “demonstrate a belief that he is above the law” and if left unchecked would risk guaranteeing that no future whistleblower or witness will ever come forward and no future President … will be subject to Congressional oversight.”
The vote comes as Jones is fighting to hold on to his seat in the deep-red state of Alabama. He won a two-year term in 2017 when he defeated former state judge Roy Moore, who faced multiple accusations of sexual contact with teenage girls when he was in his 30s.
Now Jones is facing a cascade of potential GOP challengers, including Moore, Rep. Bradley Byrne and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who held the seat for decades before stepping down to join the Trump administration.
A JMC Analytics and Polling survey released late last year found that 39 percent of voters in Alabama support impeaching Trump, compared to 54 percent who oppose it.
That’s a hard shift from several national polls that have shown the country evenly divided on whether to remove Trump from office and underscores the danger for Jones if he votes to convict Trump.
Jones appeared to brush off the potential political consequences on Wednesday.
“I did not run for Senate hoping to participate in the impeachment trial of a duly-elected President, but I cannot and will not shrink from my duty to defend the Constitution and to do impartial justice,” he said.
“The Senate Leadership Fund would like to be the first to congratulate Doug Jones on his impending retirement from politics. …It’s clear Jones has decided he’s better off auditioning for a low-level Cabinet slot in a Bernie Sanders Administration than reflect the will of Alabama.” said Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund, an outside group aligned with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).